Instructables
You know it, in the winter time it is hard to get up, because it is dark outside and your body just won’t wake up in the middle of the night. So you can buy an alarm-clock that wakes you up with light. These devices are not as expensive as few years ago, but most of them look really ugly.
On the other hand, most of the time it is also dark when you come home from work. So the great sunset is also gone. Wintertime seems sad, isn't it?

But not for the readers of this instructable. It explains you how to build a combined sunrise and sunset-lamp from a picaxe microcontroller, some LEDs and a few other parts.

The LEDs might cost you 5-10 Euros depending on the quality and the other parts should not make more than 20 Euros. So with less than 30 Euros you can build something really helpful and nice.
And this instructable will not only explain you how to rebuild this, but also show you how to modify it to your individual preferences.

Step 1: Things we need

You need these things:

o       12V or 24V power-supply
o       1 Picaxe 18M (or any other microcontroller) from http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/
o       A socket for a 3.5mm phone-jack, or any other connection from the serial-port to the microcontroller to program the picaxe
o       1 pushbutton and 1 toggle-switch, or 2 pushbuttons
o       1 IC7805 with capacitors, this converts us the 12V or 24V to the 5V we need to operate the microcontroller
o       1 IC ULN2803A, This is a Darlington Transistor Array for the direct use on TTL-Level outputs. Alternatively use 8 single Darlington-Transistors with suitable resistors but it also works with the standard BC547-transistors.
o       1 High-Power FET like the IRF520, or some other Power-Darlington-transistor like the BD649
o       A whole bunch of LEDs, different colors like red, yellow, white, warmwhite, blue and ultraviolet. Read step 4 for further informations.
o       1 10k&-potentiometer, preferable with a long knob
o       1 300&- potentiometer for testing purposes
o       Some resistors, some cables, a board to build the circuit and of course a soldering-iron
o       A measuring tool for currents would also be handy, but is not absolutely necessary
Depending on the power-source you use you might need additional connectors and a housing for the LEDs. I used an acrylic board which I fixed to the housing of the Power-supply.

In older computer-mouses with D-Sub-connectors you might find a good substitute for the phone-jack cable used to program the picaxe.

Picaxes and a lot of other useful stuff might be bought here:
http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/

For the rest just check out your local dealer.

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
neillsun2 years ago
Wanted to make this for 2 years... not really sure why I never got around to it! Going to have a crack at it soon, though. I've ordered some LEDs, new Picaxe, etc. I have both 5v and 3v3 FDTI cables - any suggestions on which would work best to program Picaxe?

Has anyone make a PCB for this? I'm being lazy here, of course!
andyk75 (author)  neillsun2 years ago
I guess you have to try which cable works best.
And congratulations that you finally started with Picaxe. They are really easy to learn and good for a start.

Good Luck!
neillsun andyk757 months ago

So, after another 2 years - yes, I am embarrassed! - I have built and circuit and programmed the Picaxe. I needed to make a few changes to the Picaxe as the one I bought is a 18M2.

Alas. I'm not winning! If, for example, I turn on pins B.0 and B.2 and do NOT use the PWM, so set B.3 high to switch the FET, everything works well. If, with exactly the same set up and code, but use the PWM and don't set B.3 high, the LEDs connected to B.0 and B.2 turn on at full brightness, and all the other LEDs start off, but increase in brightness with each step of the PWM routine.

I will point out here that I haven't built the LED grid yet, I am testing with one LED connected to each output of the ULN2803.

I have tried numerous things to sort this out, changing the FET for an NPN transistor; swapping the ULN2803 for a different one; adding the pull down resistor to the PWM pin as recommended by the Picaxe (this seemed to stop the LEDs flicking on at power up); adding a pull-up resistor to the GND pin of the ULN2803 (incase the FET was leaving the pin floating); removing the capacitors, thinking there might have been a residual capacitance effect. (I am using a 20V laptop PSU, so I'm pretty confident the supply is clean).

I have gone through my circuit and your schematic very carefully, and can't see any errors, and I have gone through my stripboard to make sure there are no bridged tracks, dry joints, etc.

I'm a touch stuck here! Any suggestions?

Thanks,

N.

fjordcarver2 years ago
I love this concept! Cool idea, I have added it to the hamster cage (list in my head of future project ideas with no logical order), filed under awesome ideas....inspiring.
Rahul_panti3 years ago
Hi everyone,
I need help..I wanted to know that if I wanted to use this for the entire roof of my roof (10X10sq ft) how many leds are required and where do place the various colors.
And is there a way that I could connect it to a electric watch and it could simulate it for me when ever I wanted to on the press of a button ??

Thanks
Rahul
ABaruwal3 years ago
Im making a wake up light for my final engineering project and and unable to find useful information :(
Can anyone help me with the circuit for the wake up light, please.
floodll4 years ago
Wow, step two went by pretty fast. 
NikonDork4 years ago
 I love this idea. I have made a sunrise simulator hooked up to two UV lamps for my three exotic birds. You'd be surprized how much happier they are to welcome the day when its being properly simulated.

Your project here is perfect for people as it naturally adusts your vision to match whats going on outside. if you could integrate a stronger UV source, it would help your body adjust even better. This idea is great for both people and animals that are sensitive to sunrise/sunset.

Im going to try this as soon as i can collect parts. I also think it would look excellent if it were modfied to point the leds upward and enclose in a simple, thin, 3d rectangular frame with panels made of a heavy rice paper, or a thin opaque white plastic.

Awesome stuff.
I have some problems finding the components in the U.S. , can anybody help me?
aborior4 years ago
 I was wondering if this was projected on white cloth how the other side would fare. if you could find out and let me know it would be a big help. i have a dream of putting a large landscape painting in front of this as one of my walls. Thank you for inspiring this.
andyk75 (author)  aborior4 years ago
It just points to a white wall.
But a big painting is also a good idea.
Lately I saw something like this, that was a silhouette  of a city in front of a RGB-LED. This also gave a nice effect.
koraygumbur4 years ago
sorry for being such a newb, but which reader do I need for the sch file?
andyk75 (author)  koraygumbur4 years ago
No Problem! 
The *.sch file contains the circuit diagram and can be opened with the "Eagle Layout Editor" from Cadsoft.  They offer a free version of their product which might be downloaded from their website
But you could also use the jpgs of the circuit diagramm, they are prints of the eagle software.  
That daylight savings is a bunch of crap, now it will be darker earlier.
Daylight savings becomes more of a pain when you're working from first light until dark, and have to travel over an hour each way, to and from work, makes for a restless week for the first week after the Fall time change...
jeff-o Hycro4 years ago
No kidding.  I only see sunlight on the weekends these days!
I can't stand the dark and rain.
Yeah, either way it's gonna be dark in the morning.
You would be a happier person if you concentrated on changing what you can change and just get over what you can't change.  (Like get up and go to work an hour earlier so you can get off an hour earlier.)

Unless, that is, you enjoy being a sourpuss.  If that's the case, then carry on. 
(removed by author or community request)
Which, I'm not sure is a good thing. I guess what I mean't was I will win in a verbal and physical fight.
I was wondering if there was any particular reason you chose to use a lot of little LEDs instead of one or two large RGB LEDs.
andyk75 (author)  poeticoddity4 years ago
Indeed I'm working on a RGB-Controller in the meantime. But the low-cost Picaxe-Chips are quite limited (only one PWM) and not too fast (to do pwm in software).
Hopefully soon a new instructable will be ready... 

Stay tuned! 
shushujooon4 years ago
This is awesome! It's PERFECT for the interior cabins of cruise ships! 
Hycro4 years ago
Looks neat, though what I do to get up when I don't really want to is using an old-style mechanical alarm clock, and place it on the other side of the room, as soon as it goes off, I'm out of bed and across the room (well, around 5' or so from my bed, in a direction that I have to get out of the bed to shut it off) and fumbling with it in the dark to turn it off. Though if I'm already awake when it goes off, I nearly jump out of my skin, since the time it goes off is slightly earlier every time from the hour hand passing the trigger, and as the clock winds down and needs to be rewound, it runs a little faster. Though I do like the idea of the LED sunrise/sunset lamp, keep up the cool ideas and creations!
wncranger4 years ago
Fantastic instructable! You put a lot of thought into this and I appreciate you sharing it with us. What a terrific idea! I'm going to build this straight away.
enentrup4 years ago
 what a gorgeous design. Fine, fine work!
Great idea!!!
canida4 years ago
Nice!